Young Dancers from Brentwood to Perform in Nashville Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty

Young Dancers from Brentwood to Perform in Nashville Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty

Photo: Back Row (Left to Right): Laura Walus, Lily Gilbert, Edythe Sterling, Riley West, Kelsie Weiegman, Emmalee Hannah-Ibido
Front Row (Left to Right): Samantha Li, Lawson Looney, Lily Reese Looney

Nine young dancers from Brentwood have been selected to perform in Nashville Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty Sept. 23-24, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. A total of 58 School of Nashville Ballet students age 6 to 7 years old will be featured in Nashville Ballet’s version of the beloved classic as flower girls and fairy pages.

Nashville Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty will feature the following young dancers from Brentwood:

  • Samantha Li, child of Jun and Gang, as a Garland Waltz
  • Lawson Looney, child of Brooke and John, as a Garland Waltz
  • Lily Reese Looney, child of Brooke and John, as a Garland Waltz
  • Claire Markham, child of Elizabeth and James, as a Garland Waltz
  • Maia Nottidge, child of Aima and Michael, as a Garland Waltz
  • Edythe Sterling, child of Amy and Matthew, as a Garland Waltz
  • Laura Walus, child of Anita and Szymon, as a Garland Waltz
  • Riley West, child of Brooke and Derek, as a Garland Waltz
  • Kelsie Wiegman, child of Kelsie and William, as a Garland Waltz

Members of The Sleeping Beauty youth cast come from seven counties in Middle Tennessee — Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sumner and Williamson. The youth cast will perform alongside all 53 members of Nashville Ballet’s professional company and second company as well as 60 musicians from the Nashville Symphony.

“The youth cast adds an unmatched layer of charm and magic to the production,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “Watching and working with this age group is a fantastic reminder of why I got into this. Their uninhibited joy and creativity awakens the child in all of us.”

The Sleeping Beauty ballet, based on the famous fairytale by Charles Perrault, debuted in 1890 featuring choreography by Marius Petipa (known as the “father of classical ballet”) and music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Even today, The Sleeping Beauty is known as one of classical ballet’s most famous works because of its intricate and challenging choreography for professional dancers.

Last presented by Nashville Ballet in 2012, The Sleeping Beauty features Petipa’s original choreography with updates from Vasterling. The timeless tale follows Princess Aurora, who is cursed to sleep for 100 years until a dashing prince’s kiss breaks the spell. The Sleeping Beauty depicts the search for an idealized version of love, but also explores the conflicting forces of good vs. evil represented by the noble Lilac Fairy and villainous Carabosse.

Though Carabosse is a female character, the role is often performed by a male dancer. In Nashville Ballet’s production, company dancer Jon Upleger will dance the role for the first time. In addition to fairies, princesses and kings, The Sleeping Beauty also includes fairytale characters from Perrault’s other stories, including Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Puss in Boots. The Sleeping Beauty will feature costumes and sets new to Nashville, traveling 1,626 miles from Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The production displays 29 handmade tutus per performance that each required approximately 80 hours to create, equaling more than 2,300 hours total.

The Sleeping Beauty is unique because its impressive choreography and rich history appeals to ballet connoisseurs, but the beloved storyline and enchanting elements—like Tchaikovsky’s famous music (which was featured in The Sleeping Beauty Disney film), the extravagant sets and costumes, and the charm of the youth cast—also makes it a fantastic introduction for a first-time visitor to the ballet,” Vasterling said.

The Sleeping Beauty is presented by Bridgestone Americas Trust FundBenefits, Inc.Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance and Mix 92.9. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or at A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at

About Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company, NB2 (a pre-professional training company), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students age 2 to 70.

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

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